Technology

Technology is the ability to use and knowledge of tools, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization. The word technology comes from the Greek technología (τεχνολογία) — téchnē (τέχνη), an 'art', 'skill' or 'craft' and -logía (-λογία), the study of something, or the branch of knowledge of a discipline. It science

The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include construction technology, medical technology, or state-of-the-art technology or high technology. Technologies can also be exemplified in a material product, for example an object can be termed state of the art.

Johann Beckmann (1739 – 1811) was a German scientific author and coiner of the word technology, to mean the science of trades. He was the first man to teach technology and write about it as an academic subject. The term can either be applied generally or to specific areas: examples include construction technology, medical technology, or state-of-the-art technology or high technology. Technologies can also be exemplified in a material product, for example an object can be termed state of the art.

Carl Mitcham made a useful distinction between four modes of technology:

  • technology as a set of artifacts or systems of artifacts;
  • technology as a form of knowledge (for the design, production, maintenance and use of technological artifacts and systems);
  • technology as a range of activities (designing, producing, maintaining and using artifacts); and
  • technology as an expression of the will of its makers, designers and producers (volition).